Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

6-7-2011 4:00 PM

Keywords

Computer Science, Informatics, Scientific Computing, High Performance Computing (HPC)

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Scientists are often woefully unprepared for the rising use of computing in their work, according to research published in a recent edition of Nature [1]. In fact, survey results indicate that 45% of scientists spend more time developing software as part of their work than five years ago, and that 38% of all scientists spend at least one fifth of their time developing software. This is only natural, to assist in experimentation, interface with high tech equipment, or analyze a tremendous volume of measurements and results. The truly frightening part? Nearly all of what these scientists know of software development is self-taught, and they often lack even the base skills and background to realize just how bad they are at it. Formal Computer Science training was simply not a part of their educations. The results? Work is riddled with inaccuracies and errors, precious time and valuable resources are lost, and reputation in the scientific community dwindles as publications are retracted and proven wrong. The costs are staggering and only getting worse with time.

The solution, fortunately, is fairly simple: Computer Science must be made an integral part of every science education. Delivering this solution, however, is not without its challenges. What instruction is required? How can it be tailored and made relevant to a variety of scientific disciplines? How can it be packaged and squeezed into already full curricula? How can this be done with already strained instructional resources? This presentation will delve into these and other issues, making the case for Computer Science as an essential part of science education.

[1] Z. Merali. Computational Science: … Error … why scientific programming does not compute. Nature 467, 775-777 (2010). Available online at: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101013/full/467775a.html


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Jul 6th, 4:00 PM

Abort, Retry, Fail? Why Computer Science is an Essential Part of Every Science Education

Scientists are often woefully unprepared for the rising use of computing in their work, according to research published in a recent edition of Nature [1]. In fact, survey results indicate that 45% of scientists spend more time developing software as part of their work than five years ago, and that 38% of all scientists spend at least one fifth of their time developing software. This is only natural, to assist in experimentation, interface with high tech equipment, or analyze a tremendous volume of measurements and results. The truly frightening part? Nearly all of what these scientists know of software development is self-taught, and they often lack even the base skills and background to realize just how bad they are at it. Formal Computer Science training was simply not a part of their educations. The results? Work is riddled with inaccuracies and errors, precious time and valuable resources are lost, and reputation in the scientific community dwindles as publications are retracted and proven wrong. The costs are staggering and only getting worse with time.

The solution, fortunately, is fairly simple: Computer Science must be made an integral part of every science education. Delivering this solution, however, is not without its challenges. What instruction is required? How can it be tailored and made relevant to a variety of scientific disciplines? How can it be packaged and squeezed into already full curricula? How can this be done with already strained instructional resources? This presentation will delve into these and other issues, making the case for Computer Science as an essential part of science education.

[1] Z. Merali. Computational Science: … Error … why scientific programming does not compute. Nature 467, 775-777 (2010). Available online at: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101013/full/467775a.html